Read A View from the Bridge Online

Authors: Arthur Miller

A View from the Bridge

Table of Contents
 
PENGUIN PLAYS A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE
Arthur Miller was born in New York City in 1915 and studied at the University of Michigan. His plays include
All My Sons
(1947),
Death of a Salesman
(1949),
The Cnicible
(1953),
A View from the Bridge
and
A Memory of Two Mondays
(1955),
After the Fall
(1964),
Incident at Vichy
(1965),
The Price
(1968),
The Creation of the World and Other Business
(1972), and
The American Clock
(1980). He has also written two novels,
Focus
(1945) and
The Misfits,
which was filmed in 1960, and the text for
In Russia
(1969),
In the Country
(1977), and
Chinese Encounters
(1979), three books of photographs by Inge Morath. His most recent works include a memoir,
Timebends,
(1987), and the plays
The Ride Doum Mt. Morgan
(1991),
The Last Yankee
(1993),
Broken Glass
(1994), and
Mr. Peters' Connections
(1999),
Echoes Down the Corridor: Collected Essays, 1944-2000, and On Politics and the Art of Acting
(2001). He has twice won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, and in 1949 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.
BY ARTHUR MILLER
DRAMA
 
The Golden Years
The Man Who Had All the Luck
All My Sons
Death of a Salesman
An Enemy of the People
(adaptation of the play by Ibsen)
The Crucible
A View from the Bridge
After the Fall
Incident at Vichy
The Price
The American Clock
The Creation of the World and Other Business
The Archbishop's Ceiling
The Ride Down Mt. Morgan
Broken Glass
Mr. Peters' Connections
 
 
ONE-ACT PLAYS
 
A View from the Bridge,
one-act version, with
A Memory of Two Mondays
Elegy for a Lady (in Two-Way Mirror)
Some Kind of Love Story
(in
Two-Way Mirror)
I Can't Remember Anything
(in
Danger: Memory!)
Clara
(in
Danger: Memory!)
The Last Yankee
 
 
OTHER WORKS
 
Situation Normal
The Misfits (a
cinema novel)
Focus
(a novel)
I Don't Need You Anymore
(short stories)
Theatre Essays
Chinese Encounters
(reportage with Inge Morath photographs)
In Russia
(reportage with Inge Morath photographs)
Salesman in Beijing
(a memoir)
Timebends
(autobiography)
Echoes Down the Corridor
(essays)
On Politics and the Art of Acting
(essays)
 
 
COLLECTIONS
 
Arthur Miller's Collected Plays (Volumes I and II)
The Portable Arthur Miller
The Theater Essays of Arthur Miller
(Robert Martin, editor)
 
 
VIKING CRITICAL LIBRARY EDITIONS
 
Death of a Salesman
(edited by Gerald Weales)
The Crucible
(edited by Gerald Weales)
 
 
TELEVISION
 
Playing for Time
 
 
SCREENPLAYS
 
The Misfits
Everybody Wins
The Crucible
PENGUIN BOOKS
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R ORL, England
Penguin Books Australia Ltd, 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 3B2
Penguin Books India (P) Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi 110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), cnr Airborne and Rosedale Roads, Albany, Auckland 1310, New Zealand
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue,
Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
 
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R ORL, England
 
First published in the United States of America
by Viking Penguin Inc. 1955
Viking Compass Edition (with a new introduction
by the author) published 1960
 
 
Published in Penguin Books 1977
 
Copyright © Arthur Miller, 1955, 1957, 1960
Copyright renewed Arthur Miller, 1983, 1985, 1988
All rights reserved
 
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Miller, Arthur, 1915—
A view from the bridge.
(Penguin plays)
Reprint of the 1960 ed. published by The Viking Press, New York,
which was issued as no. C73 of Compass books.
I. Title.
[ps3525.15056v5 1977] 811'.5'2 77-5007
eISBN : 978-1-101-04254-0
 
 
This play in its printed form is designed for
the reading public only. All dramatic rights in it
are fully protected by copyrights and no public or
private performance—professional or amateur—
and no public readings for profit may be given
without the written permission of the author and
the payment of royalty. Anyone disregarding
the author's rights renders himself liable to
prosecution. Communication should be
addressed to the author's representatives,
International Creative Management,
40 West 57th Street, New York, N.Y. 10019.
 
Lyrics from “Paper Doll” by Johnny Black
copyright by Edward B. Marks Music Corporation.
Used by permission.
 

http://us.penguingroup.com

INTRODUCTION
A play is rarely given a second chance. Unlike a novel, which may be received initially with less than enthusiasm, and then as time goes by hailed by a large public, a play usually makes its mark right off or it vanishes into oblivion. Two of mine,
The Crucible
and
A View from the Bridge,
failed to find large audiences with their original Broadway productions. Both were regarded as rather cold plays at first. However, after a couple of years
The Crucible
was produced again off Broadway and ran two years, without a line being changed from the original. With McCarthy dead it was once again possible to feel warmly toward the play, whereas during his time of power it was suspected of being a special plea, a concoction and unaesthetic. On its second time around its humanity emerged and it could be enjoyed as drama.
For a long time I had not permitted a second New York production of A
View from the Bridge
principally because I had no desire to see it through the mill a second time. However, a year or so after its first production it was done with great success in London and then in Paris, where it ran two years. It is done everywhere in this country without any apparent difficulty in reaching the emotions of the audience. This play, however, unlike
The Crucible,
I have revised, and it was the revision which London and Paris saw. The nature of the revisions bears directly upon the questions of form and style which interest students and theater workers.
The original play produced on Broadway (Viking, 1955) was in one act. It was a hard, telegraphic, unadorned drama. Nothing was permitted which did not advance the progress of Eddie's catastrophe in a most direct way. In a Note to the published play, I wrote: “What struck me first about this tale when I heard it one night in my neighborhood was how directly, with what breathtaking simplicity, it did evolve. It seemed to me, finally, that its very bareness, its absolutely unswerving path, its exposed skeleton, so to speak, was its wisdom and even its charm and must not be tampered with.... These
qualities
of the events themselves, their texture, seemed to me more psychologically telling than a conventional investigation in width which would necessarily relax that clear, clean line of his catastrophe.”
The explanation for this point of view lies in great part in the atmosphere of the time in which the play was written. It seemed to me then that the theater was retreating into an area of psycho-sexual romanticism, and this at the very moment when great events both at home and abroad cried out for recognition and analytic inspection. In a word, I was tired of mere sympathy in the theater. The spectacle of still another misunderstood victim left me impatient. The tender emotions, I felt, were being overworked. I wanted to write in a way that would call up the faculties of knowing as well as feeling. To bathe the audience in tears, to grip people by the age-old methods of suspense, to theatricalize life, in a word, seemed faintly absurd to me if not disgusting.
In
The Crucible
I had taken a step, I felt, toward a more self-aware drama. The Puritan not only felt, but constantly referred his feelings to concepts, to codes and ideas of social and ethical importance. Feeling, it seemed to me, had to be made of importance; the dramatic victory had to be more than a triumph over the audience's indifference. It must call up a concept, a new awareness.
I had known the story of
A View from the Bridge
for a long time. A water-front worker who had known Eddie's prototype told it to me. I had never thought to make a play of it because it was too complete, there was nothing I could add. And then a time came when its very completeness became appealing. It suddenly seemed to me that I ought to deliver it onto the stage as fact; that interpretation was inherent in the very existence of the tale in the first place. I saw that the reason I had not written it was that as a whole its meaning escaped me. I could not fit it into myself. It existed apart from me and seemed not to express anything within me. Yet it refused to disappear.
I wrote it in a mood of experiment—to see what it might mean. I kept to the tale, trying not to change its original shape. I wanted the audience to feel toward it as I had on hearing it for the first time—not so much with heart-wringing sympathy as with wonder. For when it was told to me I knew its ending a few minutes after the teller had begun to speak. I wanted to create suspense but not by withholding information. It must be suspenseful because one knew too well how it would come out, so that the basic feeling would be the desire to stop this man and tell him what he was really doing to his life. Thus, by knowing more than the hero, the audience would rather automatically see his life through conceptualized feelings.
As a consequence of this viewpoint, the characters were not permitted to talk about this and that before getting down to their functions in the tale; when a character entered he proceeded directly to serve the catastrophe. Thus, normal naturalistic acting techniques had to be modified. Excessive and arbitrary gestures were eliminated; the set itself was shorn of every adornment. An atmosphere was attempted in which nothing existed but the purpose of the tale.

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